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0 In College/ Lifestyle

Tips On Finding Student Accommodation In Today’s Rental Market

If you have recently accepted a CAO offer for a course this article may be of interest of you! Firstly, congrats! Secondly, if you thought the LC was stressful we have a shock for you! We’re not ones to sugar coat anything here at Missy. We give you the facts and tell it like it is. And unfortunately, finding student accommodation isn’t always easy. Especially as everyone clamours to find a space at the same time after CAO offers drop! It can feel immensely stressful. For those of you who may have to struggle to find a place, the experience can turn you into an adult almost over night. Welcome to adulting!

Whilst we can’t magic you up a room in a great location for a cheap price and fab roommates, we can help you avoid any dodgy ads or scams out there with our tips for finding student accommodation.

1. Always View The Property

Never ever agree to take accommodation over the phone or via email. Whilst the ad may say a spacious room, and the pictures look legit, it’s so simple for landlords to fake these images. Always arrange a viewing to ensure the room is up to standard (no damp, or mould etc), and is as it says/looks online. Even if it’s your neighbours cousins daughters nephew who has the room, go to see it! The last thing you or your parents want to do is pay a small fortune on a deposit for somewhere that isn’t legit!

2. Never Go To A Viewing Alone

Whilst it may be an easier solution to just hop in the car or on the bus/train to head to a viewing alone try to organise for someone to go with you. A parent, aunt, uncle, older sibling or cousin would be ideal. Not only is it safer if the person advertising the room has bad intentions, but an older wiser person who’s been through rented accommodation before will know the right questions to ask about bills etc.

3. Trust No One

This one kind of ties in with our first point, and while it does sound dramatic, it’s a rule to live by when accommodation hunting! The amount of people we have met throughout our combined university experiences here at Missy, who have been stung by fake ads is shocking! If a listing looks too good to be true, then it probably is (soz).

How To Tell If A Listing Is Dodgy

You’ve probably heard how crazy the rental market has become in recent months/years. Major cities like Cork, Limerick, Waterford and of course Dublin, are experiencing unbelievable rent hikes. So, the major giveaway that listings on places like Daft.ie are fake is the price for the quality of the place. If the pictures are of an amazing apartment – double room with an ensuite, in a great central location and priced at something reasonable like €350 a month, then its defo a scam.

In searching for accommodation with a friend a few years back, an apartment popped up; 2 double rooms, both ensuite in Rathmines (a nice central area in Dublin) for €1000 a month. That is a bargain believe it or not. €500 each in a modern apartment with the place to ourselves, and willing to let to students? Our life was made. However, when we got an email back from the landlord saying they bought the apartment for their daughter (v generous Dad), but they were no longer in the country and so once we’d sent money for a deposit (€2000) he’d send us on the keys… Em, yeah right..

4. Always Check The Tenancy Agreement/Lease

Renting accommodation can sometimes mean you have to sublet. This means you rent the room from the current occupier due to the fact that they are moving out but don’t want to pay to get out of their lease. This can be a good thing and a bad thing; seeing as you’re not on the lease you can’t be liable for a lot of stuff. On the flip side, if you’re not on the lease it can also mean you don’t have a lot of tenant rights. If you want to look into your rights as a tenant, threshold is a really good resource.

5. Contact Your College’s Student Union

College’s and University’s usually have a Student Union (SU) that will have an accommodation support service. This can include private Facebook Pages with fellow students and people looking to fill rooms, or other websites with the purpose to find a room. The resources your SU runs are very strict, so you can know the ads are legit.

How has your search for accommodation been? Any tips to share with fellow accommodation seekers? 

0 In Careers/ School

CAO Offers: What To Do Now

How To:CAO Change of Mind

The motto of the CAO really should be “May the odds be ever in your favour” because its pretty tense and you literally can never guarantee how it’s going to go.

We’ve talked you though the whole process of the CAO from the initial application to the change of mind, but now it’s finally time to see what the next step is for you because the CAO offers are out.

Panic and confusion can start to set in, so here’s a quick guide about what to do and the options available to you…

 

If you’re happy with your course and it’s 100% what you want…

Firstly, congrats!! Secondly, accept it now. Yes, the deadline is Friday, but why wait? There’s a lot to do now that you’re college bound, so tick that one job off the list. If you miss the deadline your place will be offered to someone else.

 

If you got offered another course…

The big question that you need to ask yourself is ,will this course still give you the qualification that you need to pursue your chosen career? If the answer is no, you need to walk away from this offer. Don’t get side-tracked about what you want to do with your life. There is no point going to college just for the sake of going. Yes, it’s so much harder to admit that it didn’t work out for you, but honestly no one is going to judge you. The LC is hard and the CAO system leaves a lot to be desired.

And another thing; it would be awful to think that you might be taking the place of someone who desperately wants to be on the course. All courses not accepted go back into the system and are then offered to people in Round 2. Which also means that if someone turns down the course you want you *might* still get it.

 

If you got no CAO offers at all…

It happens and it’s awful. We’ve already put together a comprehensive guide about your Leaving Cert options if you need to up your points. Another avenue worth considering is the vacant course options. Again, don’t take something if it’s not what you really want.

 

If you’re not ready for college

So, you got a course that you do actually kinda like the sounds of, but you’re not quite sure if you’re ready for the whole college thing right now? Well, you have the option to defer the course for one year. This usually means paying a deposit to hold the spot for you. A gap year can be an invaluable experience in life, IF you do it correctly. Think traveling or trying out a new job and not sleeping in everyday!

 

This can be a super exciting time in your life, but it can also be filled with uncertainty and anxiety. If you need to chat to anyone to set your mind straight we have a list of helplines. The best of luck to you all and please do pop us a message to let us know how you’re getting on!

0 In School

“I Failed The Leaving Cert”: What To Do Now

Failed The Leaving Cert

So, you failed the Leaving Cert?

Okay, failed is probably being super dramatic. It may just be the case that you didn’t get the grades that you need for your course? And that is a truly awful feeling.

Firstly, don’t start panicking too much. The CAO offers aren’t out until Monday. You could be lucky and still get the course that you wanted. BUT, it doesn’t hurt to start mentally preparing yourself about what you’re going to do if it doesn’t come up smelling of roses on Monday. So, maybe start looking into some of your options now.

 

Repeat 6th Year

Arguably the worst option is up first because let’s be honest, who actually wants to go back and repeat 6th year again? Repeating is a very personal choice. It can be the right fit for some people. It’s best to book an appointment with your school guidance counsellor to talk about everything. If you know that you need to put in a significant amount of work to up your points drastically next year, returning to full-time school might be the best option for you. It can feel like an awful thing to do, but once you get the first few days of school over with and get to know your new classmates, it will be fine. Very few people who actually put in the work regret repeating 6th year. Failing the Leaving Cert is often the “kick” that some people need to get their priorities and focus in order.

 

Get Your Exams Rechecked

There is an option to view your exams to see how they were marked and if you think they were incorrectly done or that you genuinely deserved a higher grade you can have them re-checked. It’s best to ask a teacher to view them with you as they can give you a proper opinion on whether you should get them re-checked or not. There is a fee involved per exam, but it will be refunded if your grade goes up. Missy Editor, Dani, got her History re-checked back in the day and she did receive a higher grade. While this is a worthwhile option, especially when you deserve the proper credit for all the work that you put in, its best to always have a back-up incase your points don’t go up or it’s too late to get your college course.

 

Independent Study

Sometimes physiologically or financially its just not possible for people to return to full-on 6th year. Independent study requires serious discipline and commitment for the whole school year. Not that you just whip out the books to start studying in May. You might be able to juggle a part-time job along with study, but be careful with what you can handle.

 

Repeat The Leaving Cert In A Specialised Program

If the idea of going back to your old school to repeat just isn’t an option look into repeating the Leaving Cert in other institutions. Places like Plunket College of Further Education in Dublin offer a year-long Leaving Cert course in a more relaxed environment. Yeats College Waterford is also another option. Check out and see what options are available locally.

 

PLC

We could probably write a whole article on PLC courses, but for now here are the basics…

If you have your heart set on a particular college course or career check and see if a PLC course enables you to access the course through a “progression route”. Not all PLC courses have this option, so do your research. Have a meeting with the course coordinators and make sure that the course will enable you to still access the course that you need (seriously, double and triple-check this because you don’t want to waste your time and money). A PLC course will not give you “extra” points. Instead ‘new’ points will be calculated on the basis of your results from the PLC / FETAC course.

To be awarded a FETAC Level 5 certificate you must pass 8 modules. For each of the modules you complete you are awarded a Distinction, Merit, Pass or Undefined (Fail).

Points wise this translates as:

Distinction – 50
Merit – 35
Pass – 20

Your best 8 modules are used to calculate your CAO points total. So, the best you can get is 8 Distinctions giving you 400 points. Note: PLC points and LC points are not added together, they are two separate qualifications.

If you are considering a specific college look up the course on qualifax.ie and see what it says under FETAC qualifications. If it lists a specific FETAC course then that is all they will accept, if it doesn’t then they will accept any PLC. There are actually a number of places on courses (mainly in ITs) reserved for PLC students in the CAO system. However, if your points are high enough you may just get it through the conventional manner as your points will match up to similar LC applicants. You can do a PLC in a wide variety of areas and often it can lay a great foundation for college courses. The student grant is available for students who do PLCs. It will not affect you getting the grant at third level if you continue on after completing your PLC.

 

Look, we always tell it like it is on missy.ie; failing the Leaving Cert, or not getting the points you need, SUCKS, but it’s not the end of the world.

Yes, it is as failure and you will need to acknowledge that, mope and move on from it. Don’t allow this set-back to move you away from your ultimate career goal. We can be our own worst enemies in these situations. The L.C is hard, everyone knows that. There’s no shame in failing, as long as you learn a hard lesson from it. So, chin up.

0 In Careers/ Lifestyle

#GirlsInSTEM: Niamh Kavanagh Chats About A Career In Physics

Niamh Kavanagh

 

Welcome back to the third part in our #GirlsInSTEM series! Make sure that you are all caught up on Part 1 (Why We Need More Girls In STEM) and Part 2 ( Andrea Gonzales Talks Girl Code).

As part of the series we intend to interview 4 women making waves in STEM. First up we’re chatting to Niamh Kavanagh about what it’s like to work in Physics.

 

What is your current role and what does it involve?

I am a PhD student, which is a strange mix of college and a job. I get paid to do my research but I also have to do a few courses here & there. One of the goals of my PhD is to build a new type of optical communications system, so I spend a lot of time in the lab doing that. An optical communications system is made up of lots of different components. Basically any time you send information over the internet, you’re using an optical communication system. Computers talk to each other in a binary language of 1’s and 0’s. We turn this digital information into pulses of light using lasers, e.g. turn the laser on for 1 and off for 0. These pulses of light travel around the world (across continents and under oceans) through optical fibres, this is why the information can go so far so quickly. What I’m trying to do is make a new system that’s based on new types of optical fibres that could allow us to send more information, faster than ever before. So my job involves a lot of time in the lab, designing the system, running test & tweaking equipment to get the best performance. But there’s a lot of other aspects to my job outside the lab too, I have to read a lot of papers to learn about my field, write papers of my own to communicate my findings to other researchers and attend lots of different trainings so I can learn new skills. The communication side of things is a big part of my job, I present at conferences all around the world to share my work with other researchers but also I communicate with people outside my field; I visit schools, take part in public events & do interviews like this! I think it’s important that the public can stay informed about science if they’re interested & I want to make that as accessible to as many people as I can.

 

What subjects did you study for the Leaving Cert?

I did English, Irish, Maths, France, Geography, Music & Physics.

I actually didn’t pick Physics to begin with, I chose Chemistry initially. I knew I wanted to do a science but I was never a fan of biology & I didn’t know anything about Physics. I chose Chemistry, but it turned out to be on at the same time as Music, so I couldn’t do both & I knew I wanted to do music because I had learned the piano outside of school & thought that would make the subject much easier. So for that reason alone, I ended up doing Physics!

 

Where did you go to college and what did you study?

I went on to study Physics at University College Cork.

For a long time I didn’t know what I wanted to do in college. I used to think I wanted to be a primary school teacher, but in Transition Year I did work experience in a school & quickly discovered that that wasn’t for me. This threw me into a spin because I hadn’t a clue what else to do.

I spent a lot of time worrying about it. I remember being very good at knowing what I didn’t want to do (lawyer, doctor, chef etc.) but I couldn’t think of a job I would like to do. In one of my sessions with my careers teacher, she asked me what my favourite subject was & I told her it was Physics. She said, well, what about that then? I was pretty doubtful but I looked into it & was pleasantly surprised with what I found. I learned that a degree in Physics gives you a wide variety of transferable skills that can be applied in lots of different areas. This sounded perfect to me, so I went for it.

 

What made you want to pursue a career in STEM?

I wasn’t especially passionate about science as a child I don’t think. I liked to read a lot, I enjoyed learning & I didn’t mind maths. I had a great Physics teacher in secondary school who didn’t mind me asking lots of questions, so that helped me enjoy the subject a lot. But really I think I chose STEM for quite practical reasons; I thought a degree in STEM would give me lots of options to have a good job & an interesting career.

 

Were you aware that women are underrepresented in STEM?

Yes. Even in secondary school when I told people I was going to study Physics in college there was raised eyebrows. I knew it wasn’t “normal”.

It’s not right that that’s the case. Anyone that’s interested in STEM should be able to pursue that interest, without being seen as abnormal.

In college I was very lucky to be a part of a very supportive year, we all worked together on everything & helped each other every step of the way. But when we graduated in 2014, I was one of two girls in a class of 20.

I remember at the start of college, feeling a lot of pressure associated with that, feeling like that if I did bad in a test that it reflected badly on my gender as a whole. That I had to do well or it would further confirm the incorrect assumption that Physics wasn’t for women. It made the first few months of college even harder I think. But I had to let that expectation go, it was too much pressure to take on. All you can do is do your best. It shouldn’t matter what gender you are. But as I said, the year I was in was very supportive and I think that helped a lot.

 

Did this underrepresentation give you any doubts about pursuing your chosen career?

Yes. To be honest, more-so as I’ve gone on in my career, I have found working in a male-dominated atmosphere more difficult. The culture can be very traditional & unwilling to change to be more welcoming to women & LGBT people. Also, the academic career path (from PhD to Post-Doc & then maybe lecturer) is very difficult to manage as you are expected to move around a lot internationally to gain experience & because there are not a lot of available positions. It can be very competitive & I’m not sure I’m willing to sacrifice my personal life in the way that might be necessary to gain a good position in academia.

I know from looking at the research that these are challenges that impact women more than men & although improvements are being made, it is off-putting. An alternative career path to academia is to go into industry & work for a company (rather than a university or research institute). I am strongly considering that route at the moment. Since I’m in the final year of my PhD I’m thinking a lot about this at the moment, one thing I’ve certainly learned though is that very few people have it all figured out. Very few have a plan. No one really knows for sure what they what to be when they grow up. You’re constantly questioning yourself & trying to make the best decision for you & your family at that particular time.

 

Do you feel you are at a disadvantage by being a woman in STEM? i.e. Do you feel your male colleagues are given better opportunities, promoted more often, taken more seriously etc.

This is a difficult question because from my own personal experience it is difficult to point to serious examples of when I have been obviously disadvantaged because of my gender and, on the flip-side of that, I have some examples of times that I have received specific support because of my gender (i.e. programmes to encourage more women participating in STEM) but I think this is because you can never really know the opportunities that you weren’t given because of your gender, unless someone tells you, which often is not the case.

So, for example, in 2012, over 100 US STEM professors were asked to rate the CV of a student applying for a pretend laboratory manager position. Based on the CV, they were asked: Do you think this person is competent? Would you hire them & would you personally mentor them? The catch was that all the CVs were absolutely identical, except half had a male name, John & half had a female name, Jennifer. The results showed that, even though both CVs were identical, John was rated higher than Jennifer in all aspects of competence, hire-ability & mentorship. The kicker was that they were they asked to assign a starting salary for the student. John was offered a mean salary of nearly 4000 dollars more Jennifer, again for the exact same CV. So, the research shows that women in STEM can be disadvantaged in comparison to their male colleagues by being given better opportunities, promoted more often & taken more seriously.

I don’t think this is a reason not to do STEM, I think it is still a field full of fantastic opportunities and exciting careers. I just think it’s very important to be aware of these disparities that do exist so we can work towards fixing them.

 

How do you suggest girls in school now get involved in STEM and work towards equalling the field?

So, I’m going to address the first half of this question first, if you’re interested in STEM please get involved! There are lots of different initiatives to support young people, and young girls especially, who have a passion for STEM. Try to talk to anyone you know who works in a STEM-related job. Ask at your local university or Tech Company to see if they have outreach activities or support structures that you can get involved with. There’s a lot of national initiatives as well around Science Week and Engineers Week where there are lots of events on around the country, so keep an eye out for those! The internet is an endless resource, where you can find anything about anything, so take advantage of that!

Secondly, I don’t think the responsibility should be on women to work towards equalling the field. The field is currently suffering because of a lack of diversity. Research has shown that diverse teams produce better results, make fewer errors and make more money. It is in our best interest to foster a diverse workforce. Women can of course support equality initiatives by getting involved, supporting other women & mentoring younger women, for example. We need to create a better, more welcoming, more inclusive culture in STEM so that when women do enter into STEM fields, we don’t see them leaving at higher rates than men (which unfortunately is the case currently). At the end of the day, in my opinion, we can’t put the responsibility on the few to change the culture of the many.

 

Even with a gender gap in STEM fields would you encourage young girls to still pursue this field, and why?

Even with everything I’ve said here, I still would encourage young women to pursue a career in STEM fields. STEM is such a wide field, full of exciting opportunities that can really take you anywhere. I know so many brilliant women in STEM doing amazing things to make the world a better place, they inspire me every day & I’m so glad that they chose STEM. But also, the unfortunate reality is that sexism exists everywhere. Gender disparities at higher, decision-making levels exists in many fields outside of STEM. You can’t let these things stop you from pursing what you’re passionate about.

If you’re interested in STEM, go for it.

You can follow Niamh on Twitter!

0 In Friendship/ Girl Talk/ Lifestyle/ Relationships/ Wellness

5 Questions That Will Change Your Life

5 Questions That Will Change Your Life

If you think a Insta Model body or a BF is your one-way ticket to internal happiness, it’s time to get some serious perspective. Answer these questions honestly and they might just change your life!

 

1. Will Being Thin Really Make Me Happy?

If you’re frantically nodding your head right now, you could be in trouble. It’s easy to think your life would be perfect if only you were taller/shorter, blonder, more tan…but the reality is that looking “good” is no guarantee that you’ll feel confident. Spoiler: “beautiful” people have problems too.

Happiness comes from within and beauty really is only skin deep. Think about it. Do you seriously think that celebrities and Insta Models don’t have problems? Just one look at their Twitter mentions will prove that it’s not all plain sailing for them either. You wouldn’t think it to look at her, but Lily Reinhart has admitted that she suffers a lot from anxiety, depression and is very insecure about her skin. You never know what is going on inside someone else’s head, no matter what they may look like on the outside.

Is theres’ something about your body that you’d like to change, ask yourself “why“? Everyone has bits that they don’t like, but instead of stressing about them why not draw up a list of things that you do like about yourself and probably take for granted? Read over it whenever you feel down. And don’t forget that real girls aren’t perfect and perfect girls aren’t real. You’re unique and that’s what makes you pretty damn special.

 

2. Is Having A Boyfriend Really Important?

When you’re single, it can feel like everyone in the world is coupled-up (seriously, what is it with all these super quick celeb engagements?) while you’re left as the Bridget Jones of your gang. But if you think that you need to be in a relationship to be truly happy, you could be suffering from low self-esteem, especially if you’re willing to date some randomer who you’re not that into.

When you’re single you can spend as much time with your friends as you like, get to keep every weekend open for spontaneous adventures and you can say you’re an Independent Woman. When you really think about it, are you really desperate to lose all of those things? It’s normal to want to be in a secure and loving relationship, but being one of those girls who simply can’t fly solo means you’ll never feel whole unless you’re someone else’s other half. And that’s just not healthy, or much fun. When you find someone who you are truly meant to be with, you’ll know. But there’s no point in forcing a relationship just for the sake of it. And it’s an even worse idea to think that having a boyfriend will solve all of your problems, it might just create them.

Now, all the single ladies, put your hands up!

 

3. Am I A Good Friend?

Who do you rely on? Think about them right now and ask yourself can they say the same about you? Are you guilty of not being there for your friends when they need you, even-though they provide a first-rate counselling service to you? If you’re the type of person who drops friends like hot potatoes once someone else comes along, you really need to start evaluating how you treat people. Everyone needs friends and as you go through life you’ll find that you rely more and more on a core group of friends. But friendship is a two-way street and they need the effort. And in order to be deserving of good friends, you need to be a great friend in return.

If you’ve just realised that you haven’t been the best friends lately there’s no need to get down about it. Instead, get everyone around foe Netflix and chill night and make sure that they know how much they all mean to you.

 

4. Am I A Nightmare To Live With?

You probably don’t give your home life a second thought, but maybe it’s time that you do. When you’re a child, your parents are obliged to care for you and they don’t really expect any thanks for it, but now that you’re well on your way to adulthood it’s time to re-evaluate your living situation. Does your mum still make all your meals? Does she still wash your clothes and change your sheets too? Instead of talking all that hotel-style help for granted, why not give back every once in a while?

It could be something as simple as offering to vacuum the living room or washing up after the Sunday lunch, neither of which will take yo too much time or effort.

Think about how your parents and siblings view you. We all get a bit short-tempered at time, but if you’re constantly starting arguments and throwing diva fits over the slightest thing, it might be time to re-evaluate your attitude. Make an effort to be kinder and more patient with your ‘rents. Ever get scolded for having “a tone“? Maybe try improve on that. Because even if your family drives you spare at times, they still love you endlessly and are only trying to do their best. So, check the attitude at the front door and help out a bit more. Say thank you to your parents and appreciate them a bit more.

 

5. Am I Reaching My Full Potential?

Think of how frustrating it must be for your teachers and parents if they see you coast along without really, whole-heartedly trying. It’s not that they’re “always on your case”. They care about you and want to see you do well and reach your full-potential.

If you ever scraped a C after not studying for a test, imagine what you cod achieve with a bit more effort?

Instead of shrugging it off, the next time someone tells you to believe you can do something, LISTEN UP for a change. Whether it’s in school, sport or with your family and friends – you have the potential to be the best, if only you’d trust yourself. Don’t let that voice inside you that tells you that you can’t do something. Or that you’re too tired. Or you’ve done the bare minimum – it’s grand, take over. Aim for the stars – and the sky’s the limit.

0 In Books/ Careers

#GirlsInSTEM: Andrea Gonzales Talks Girl Code

Andrea Gonzales

In the latest part of our #GirlsInSTEM series we chatted to Andrea Gonzales who wrote Girl Code: Gaming, Going Viral, and Getting It Done with her friend Sophie Houser. Girl Code is the story of two teenage tech phenoms who met at Girls Who Code summer camp, teamed up to create a viral video game, and ended up becoming world famous.

Andrea is a classically trained pianist, but when she discovered coding her life took a different turn. We spoke to her about her early desires to become an engineer, the challenges she faced being a woman in tech, and how Tampon Run has helped to destigmatise periods.

 

You have previously said your parents wanted you to be a doctor, lawyer or engineer. What made you choose engineer? 

When I was younger, I really admired this character in an old animated movie called Atlantis: The Lost Empire, named Audrey. She was this young, fiery, talented, and driven mechanic…I wanted to be just like her! I also liked video games, and my sisters had already called dibs on doctor and lawyer. I made the “decision” to be an engineer when I was around 5…so the choice to become an engineer was for several reasons that really only a kid would find motivating.

 

Were you and your parents aware before you decided to be an engineer that there was a gender gap in the STEM career paths?

Yes. I had never experienced it for myself before, and wouldn’t really experience it for a while, but I had a strong tomboy identity, so I felt that it wouldn’t be that hard for me because I was already so “boyish.”

 

If so, did this cause you to rethink your choice at any time or drive you to prove girls can do anything boys can do?

I’m a bit competitive, which both drives me to prove people wrong and raises the stakes of failure. I never liked the idea of not being able to do something, and especially not being able to do something because of my gender. It seemed like a challenge—a very daunting one, of course—but one that I was willing to take on.

 

Andrea Gonzales and Sophie Houser.

Why did you apply for Girls Who Code

I had already been coding for a few summers at a co-ed summer camp, and while I loved my time at that camp, I wanted a change. Girls Who Code is more than just a 101 course in computer science, it offers an incredibly supportive network and a foothold into a number of tech companies and connections. I also wanted to see how I would change as a programmer if I were surrounded by women. In some ways, Girls Who Code was more daunting to me than the co-ed, since I was such a tomboy and was intimidated by the idea of hanging with only women for nine hours a day. But honestly, it was because I had become accustomed to the idea of being surrounded by men. I’m glad I made the decision to apply!

 

We know your game Tampon Run was created to help deal with the stigmatisation of periods, how has the reaction to that been?

For the most part, it’s been incredibly positive. Even for me, when I first released Tampon Run, I still felt uncomfortable talking about my own period and about periods in general. After Tampon Run went viral, I had to adapt quickly, to say the least. People of all ages have played with the game, from parents who want to show the game to their kids, to middle school students who have started educating each other about the stigma surrounding menstruation. The message is that menstruation is a natural bodily function that young children should know about from an early age and without shame. Of course, there have been trolls and people who don’t get that, but Sophie and I have taken critique in stride; it’s made us stronger and more driven. Tampon Run has made lasting impact beyond our wildest dreams, and at the end of the day, we’re proud of that.

 

What advice would you give our readers if they want to get into coding or any STEM career?

Persevere! I’ve said this from the beginning and I’ll keep saying it. Going into STEM and coding is hard, period. Going into STEM and coding as a woman or other marginalized gender is even harder. But if you’re doing what you love, it’s incredibly rewarding, even if it is challenging. It will take a little more effort but find those other women in your STEM communities. Become an advocate for other women who haven’t taken the leap. You’d be surprised how just being in STEM as a woman can encourage others to join you. 

Can you recommend any online resources for those who might not have a class or camp close by?

For sure! Codecademy, Khan Academy, and Code.org are great places to start when learning to code. There are countless other online resources to get started; all you need is a computer and an internet connection.

 

How did you find putting your book Girl Code together? Did you enjoy the writing process?

We had a very short amount of time to write the book, and at the time I was finishing my senior year of high school. There were times where I’d be with friends but sit in a corner of their apartment editing a chapter or responding to my editor. I spent most of my school breaks with Sophie working on the book. I felt very exposed – it was tough talking about my life, knowing people I knew would read it…especially my parents. It was definitely a challenging time and it took a toll on me mentally, emotionally, and academically, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world. I never had so much time dedicated to thinking about my life, how I’ve changed, and how to articulate it all in writing. I grew so much as a writer and a thinker, and it was amazing to see that two years of work on Tampon Run manifested in a real, physical book. I cried when I got my first copy! And of course I’m so lucky to have gotten the chance to reach more young women by sharing my story in Girl Code. It was an incredible experience.

 

Girl Code: Gaming, Going Viral, and Getting It Done is available now!

0 In Careers/ Lifestyle/ School

CAO Change of Mind: What To Do If You’re Having Doubts

How To:CAO Change of Mind

CAO Change of Mind

You filled out your CAO ages ago, you’re feeling confident in your choices, you know the grades you need to get and the Leaving Cert is new in the rearview window. However, maybe you have that niggling feeling at the back of your mind… maybe your top choice isn’t what you want to do. Are you doing this course for you or because your parents/fav teacher has pushed you towards it? It’s perfectly ok to have a change of heart, and we’re here to tell you exactly what to do if you feel like you might have changed your mind.

The Facts

  1. The CAO reopens on the 4th of May 2018 @ 12 Noon, and closes again on 1st July 2018 @ 17.15 sharp. This is also known as the CAO Change of Mind.
  2. There is no fee to change your CAO at this point.
  3. By submitting a CAO Change of Mind, the system automatically cancels “all the previous course choices in any category in which changes are made” CAO.ie However, the two course categories of Level 8 and Level 7/6 are treated separately. Changing a Level 8 course only effects other Level 8’s and vice versa.
  4. If changing, make sure you list the course you’re changing in the correct category. Also ensure all other courses you choose are in order before re-submitting.
  5. You can change your mind as many times as you like between the 4th of May and the deadline on 1st July 2018.

Knowing If You Want To Change Your Mind

You may be very confident in your choices and that’s great, but it won’t do you any harm to double-check your choices when the CAO reopens. Have a scroll through the list, make sure your first choice is still definitely your first choice. If you’ve only got 2 or 3 courses down, maybe do some more Googling and pop a few more down, it’s always good to have options, and there are so many courses out there to choose from.

You checked your courses and everything was in order. Now though, after sitting that exam, you’re a bit apprehensive, it wasn’t exactly what you expected. Self doubt will only stress you out in these situations.When under pressure we often make mountains out of mole hills, as they saying goes. You will probably surprise yourself once you open your results in August, so don’t jump the gun and change everything because you feel you mightn’t have done as well as you hoped. The best thing is to stick with what you want as your top choice, but throw in a few back-ups further down the list, just incase.

You’re more than likely over thinking things, but if you feel you want to avail of the CAO change of mind, there are a few things to consider.

Research, Research, Research

We can’t stress enough how important it is to research the course you want to do. This will be your life for the next 3/4 years, and perhaps your career after that. It’s important you have a keen interest in the subject, it’s even more important you see yourself being happy in the course. When doing your research we recommend you check the course outline, read the in-depth description of each module (both core modules and choice modules), and see what the course structure for years 2 and 3 etc is like. A great way to see what your course might lead to is to check the “careers” tab listed on most course pages. This page usually contains testimonials of past graduates sharing how the degree helped shape their career.

Go Broad or Go Home

If you’re on the fence (we don’t blame you, choosing a career path at the age of 17/18 is overwhelming at times) it’s best to look into courses that offer a broad range of material. Rather than choosing a course that is very specific and may lead to a smaller amount of career paths or future study, pick something that is a bit broader in its structure. Your friends/family/teachers may have opinions on these types of courses, but when you’ve graduated and can dip into an abundance of careers or postgrads you’ll be reassured you made the right decision for you when it came to the CAO all those years ago! Check out QualifaX for a range of info on all things education.

Don’t Follow The Crowd

If you check your CAO and it’s a list of courses at a college or uni where your friends are going, perhaps take a moment to re-evaluate. Going to a certain college just because it’s where a majority of your friends are going is not always a wise choice. Especially if you’re having doubts about the course you’ve chosen on your CAO. Going to college is a life experience like none other. It’s often an opportunity to evolve, try new things, evaluate who you are, and “find yourself.” (Perfectly ok to graduate and still not have a clue of any of this, but it’s always nice to think it’s an option).

So, if you’re doubting your CAO choices and want to go to a uni that isn’t a popular choice among friends, go for it. This is your life, choosing a path based on other people’s ideas and opinions is something you may end up regretting.

PLC Please

If you’re panicking about how the LC went, cover your back and look into some PLC courses. It’s not going to do any harm having back-ups if things don’t go the way you wanted. Look up the courses on your CAO and see if they accept PLC courses as another means of entry. PLC’s are also a great way to get a taster for the course you’ve chosen to do. So, if things don’t go right in August, rest assured that there are other options than just those you listed on your CAO.

We will have more about your options once the Leaving Cert results are out.

Have you any questions or concerns about the CAO change of mind? Let us know in the comments below.

0 In Careers

Irish Women In Business: Girl Boss Inspirations

Marissa Carter
Cocoa Brown Tan cover
Aug 13, 2017

When we think of the corporate world we often envisage men in suits talking stocks and bonds. However, women are now more than ever, taking on the business world; turning their passions into award-winning companies. For such a small island, Ireland has produced some of the best of the best women in business. We’ve compiled a list of some of our fave Irish Girl Boss inspirations.

Cocoa Brown

You’ve obviously never stopped foot in a Penneys or Pharmacy if you don’t immediately know Cocoa Brown.

The founder, Marissa Carter, worked hard to establish her brand Cocoa Brown. Unable to afford beauty college, Marissa was sponsored by The Galligan Beauty College and graduated with an honours as a beauty therapist.

Starting her first business, Carter Beauty Salon, in a house she was renting at the time, Marissa’s business soon grew and by 2012 was one of Ireland’s leading beauty salons!

That same year was the birth of Marissa’s tan, Cocoa Brown. Having attended the Circadia Institute in the US, Marissa gained a certificate in Cosmetic Chemistry and Skin Histology. Later that year, Cocoa Brown hit the shelves and the rest is history. Marissa’s brand now carries an abundance of different products and is sold out in 20 countries worldwide. Kylie Jenner is also a fan!

Not content with dominating the beauty business with Cocoa Brown, Marissa is about to launch her own makeup range, Crater Beauty Cosmetics, in July.

Marissa’s story shows that hard work, dedication, and investing in yourself and your education can lead to becoming the ultimate Girl Boss!

Izzy Wheels missy.ie online teen mag ireland

Izzy Wheels

Izzy Wheels was founded by Dublin based sisters Ailbhe and Izzy Keane.

What started off as a college project for Ailbhe, turned into an amazing award-winning business for the sisters.

Inspired by Izzy, who was born with Spina Bifida and is paralysed from the waist down, Ailbhe noticed the first thing people saw was Izzy’s wheelchair. The wheelchair was not reflective of Izzy’s bubbly personality, and so she designed wheelchair covers that expressed personality and style.

Izzy Wheels is an inspiring story of two sisters coming together to form a creative fashion brand. Their success has been amazing, having been featured on The Late Late Show, as well as in Vogue Magazine. These sisters are ones to watch! Check out their Instagram for pictures of their amazing designs.

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Chupi

Born in Wicklow, Chupi Sweetman spent her early career as a designer having been scouted by Topshop at just 21! After 6 years in fashion, Chupi had a change of heart and decided she wanted to “create something that lasted forever and celebrated Ireland’s incredible design heritage.” In 2013, Chupi the brand was born!

Chupi now has a team of 23, her pieces feature in London Fashion Week, and has a global fan base from NYC to Tokyo.

Chupi puts incredible work into her individual pieces, each one telling its own story. Follow the Chupi Instagram for beautiful pics and lovely background stories as to who or where the piece is going to! We don’t want to get ahead of ourselves, but… Chupi may be the sweetest Girl Boss going!

nora

Nuritas

We here at Missy are big advocates for women and girls in STEM. When we came across Nuritas, a company founded by Dr. Nora Khaldi, a mathematician with a PhD in Molecular Evolution and Bioinformatics, we were all sorts of excited.

Not only is Nora a successful mathematician, she is also branching into the business world and holding the title of ultimate Girl Boss. Nuritas is aiming to tackle the health challenges facing the world, with their unique capabilities. Their technology is used to mind peptides in natural foods that can help in curing and preventing diseases. Impressive, right?   

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ÍON Herbs

Another Girl Boss who has come from a STEM background, Dr. Aoife Kelly has developed her brand ÍON herbs. Having always been interested in herbal medicine and with an abundance of scientific knowledge, Aoife quit her job as an engineer in 2014 to pursue her passion.

ÍON drinks are used for a range of health needs. Aoife is dedicated to producing high quality herb drinks that are 100% plant based. ÍON’s can be purchased in a number of stores such as Lloyds Pharmacy and The Happy Pear.

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Simply Fit Food

Developed by fitness fanatics Luke and Evelyn, Evelyn is obvs the Girl Boss of this company. Inspired by the idea that keeping fit can take up a lot of time and energy, Simply Fit Food was established to deliver healthy meals that are freshly packed straight to your door. Making cooking and staying healthy that little bit easier. Evelyn began her journey to exercise and healthy eating when at 16 she was diagnosed with an under active thyroid. A self-proclaimed foodie, Evelyn understands the stigma around healthy food but thankfully her Mam taught her that healthy food doesn’t have to be tasteless.

Simply Fit Food is an award-winning business, but we’re not surprised considering it’s such a great idea!

 

0 In Books/ Careers

How To Become An Author With Holly Black

A few weeks ago we were super lucky to get the chance to sit down and chat with author, Holly Black, about her latest book, The Cruel Prince. While we were chatting to Holly she was very generous with her advice to aspiring authors. And we just had to pass it one because it was just so real and valuable.

So, if you fancy a lifetime of crafting words, here’s how to become an author…

 

Writing Her First Book Was Hard

It took me about 5 years to write my first book, Tithe: A Modern Faerie Tale. And I didn’t really know how to write a book. And so a big part of it was just trying to work that out. I went back all the time. And I think this is often a problem; you know when you are a good reader and a critical reader and you know you are not doing the thing you’re supposed to be doing and so you write it and you’re like “woa that is not book-shaped“. That doesn’t work. But I don’t know why it doesn’t it doesn’t work because I’m writing my first book. And I have no experience as a writer. I have tons of experience as a reader. And I think that was a huge part of both how I found my way, but also what got in my way.

I had that inner critic that said “This is wrong. Its wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong“. And I had to go back and I would change it and change it and change it. And then finally I found my way through. But I really despaired at finishing. It became “I wonder if this will ever end?” It takes time, especially the first book. And it will never be as hard again because you learn so much.

 

Holly’s Writing Process

I try to write everyday. I write about a 1000 words a day, which isn’t that much. I’m not that fast. Sometimes I can maybe write 2000 words on maybe a red-letter day. I have been trying what I call fast drafting which is basically bashing it out for maybe the last book I wrote, which is the sequel to The Cruel Prince. I’ve finished Wicked King, which is the sequel to The Cruel Prince. It is finished. I’ve never been this far ahead. I’ve written 20,000 words of it. I have a rough idea of where it’s going. I have a pretty good plan. Fingers crossed.

 

You Have To Write Even When It’s Not Fun

I think sometimes people think that writing is fun for me. It’s not! She says with a laugh. “It’s just as unfun for me as it is for you. I don’t know what’s happening either. And its frustrating. And I can’t wait for it to be fun.

For sure, sometimes it’s fun and when I was young I would only write when it was fun but I can’t do that. If you’re going to write professionally you have to write when it’s not fun. And I think sometimes that we worry that the stuff we write during those times is worse. But when you look back I guarantee you will never be able to tell which days were the days that if felt like pulling teeth and which days it came out of you easily. I always think it’s important to know that it isn’t you, that you feel this way where you’re like oh, why is this so hard?” It’s just hard.

And the other thing that I realized is that you have to write the book that your reader self would want, not the book that your writer self thinks you ought to write. You know, don’t challenge your writer-self. Do the thing your reader self is really excited about.

 

The Key Ingredient When Writing…

Showing and not telling. There are many cases where you need to show and not tell, but as an absolute rule I think it can really trip people up because there are times when you just need to tell the readers somethings and showing them to the reader will take a reeeeally long time and in fact just being like ok here’s this fact now we go to the story. Because what the reader care about is the story.

 

Criticism Is Necessary

I had a critique partner which was really helpful because at least it was one other person who was expecting it. It was a huge help for me. It can be helpful. It’s a person who will keep you accountable. And I think also it’s great to have someone who critiques your work, someone to tell you what’s working and really telling you this part is great. And it’s great to be able to critique their work because we learn to be a better reader of other people’s work and a better reader of our own work

 

 

The Cruel Prince by Holly Black, the first book in the The Folk of the Air series is available in hardback now.

0 In Girl Talk/ Wellness

Menstrual Cups: What Are They?

Menstrual Cups: What Are They?

Image @msfist

 

Have you heard about Menstrual Cups? We had, but we weren’t entirely sure what all the hype was about. And honestly were weren’t sure that it was for us.

Periods are a drag, but sadly a fact of life if you posses a uterus. And Ireland isn’t exactly a country that encourages healthy attitudes about bodies or periods. So, it’s really no surprise that sometimes people are freaked out by their own bodies. Especially when you’re younger, amirite?

After hearing lots of positive stories about Menstrual Cups we decided to do some investigating and now we see why women are saying goodbye to pads and tampons forever. Here’s everything that you need to know about Menstrual Cups.

 

What Are Menstrual Cups?

A Menstrual Cup is a flexible cup designed to be inserted inside the vagina during your period to collect menstrual blood. Most menstrual cups are made of medical grade silicone or rubber.

You insert it similar to a tampon. The cup creates almost like a seal so leakages do not happen and the blood is collected in the cup.

The trick to inserting it correctly is to fold the cup. And there are many different folds. There are great YouTube clips that show you all the different folds.

To take it out you just pinch it slightly to break the seal and then just pull it out genteelly using the stem. Then you just empty it in the toilet, give it a rinse and re-insert it.

The thought of inserting a cup “down there” may sound kinda scary, but it’s really not. It’s perfectly safe and comfortable. In fact most women who use a menstrual cup say that they wouldn’t return to pads or tampons.

 

Image @zinteta

Em…Why?

One menstrual cup can be reused for a number of years once it’s looked after correctly. The average women spends €10 each month on tampons and pads. So after 3 months Menstrual Cups have already paid for themselves!

Some of us reading this might take it for granted that we can easily afford that few euro every month, but this is not the case for every woman. Period Poverty is a serious issue that affects many women around the world, including Ireland.

Menstrual cups are environmentally friendly too. It saves loads of waste because it’s reusable. There are no chemicals, and no plastic waste. Did you know that a number of chemicals are used to produce ordinary pads and tampons? Because we didn’t!

Using a menstrual cup is no harder than a non applicator tampon. It’s really just about learning how to use a menstrual cup. Like with anything, it can take a bit of practice in the beginning. Look, the first few times you use it might terrify you, but it is worth sticking with.

 

What Are The Benefits Of Menstrual Cups?

You don’t need to worry about getting Toxic Shock Syndrome, which isn’t common, but you know… a worry!

As we’ve already said, they are environmentally friendly. Just imagine the amount of waste accumulated by sanitary products throughout a women’s life.

Pads and tampons can be irritating due to the chemicals used to make them. Some women believe that they even prolong your period and make it more painful.

Some people also claim to have shorter periods when using menstrual cups and that their period pains eased.

In a slightly bizarre turn of events a lot of women who hate tampons love menstrual cups. They are more comfortable to wear compared to tampons as the cup is made of soft silicone it moves with your body.

 

Image @lunettecup

Where Can I Buy A Menstruation Cup?

There are lots of different types of Menstrual Cups on the market. Your local Pharmacy should have them. Superdrug and Boots also sell them. And of course you can purchase them online too. We know, shopping online…revolutionary! Mooncup and OrganiCup are among some of the most popular brands.

There’s even menstrual cups especially made for younger users, like the Lunette Menstrual Cup which comes in different colours! Not only is it smaller and shorter – it is squishier, so it’s easier to insert.

Here’s a handy guide that we found to help you find your perfect menstrual cup.

 

FAQ

What if it overflows?

It shouldn’t. Although it mightn’t seem like it, you only lose about 3-5 teaspoons of blood during your period.

Can it fall out?

No. When inserting you fold the cup and when it’s in it unfolds it acts like a suction cup and seals to the sides. So, it’s highly unlikely it would just come out.

Can I use them if I’m a virgin?

Yep! They’re no different from using tampons. If you’ve started your period then you can use a menstrual cup.

What about when I’m out and about?

You’ll be fine! Usually Menstrual Cups only have to be emptied once every 4-12 hours depending on your flow.

What about leakages?

Shouldn’t be a problem as long as it’s inserted properly. And believe us you’ll know if it’s inserted properly.

Can I play sports?

Yes! You can do everything as “normal”. In fact some women even think that menstrual cups have less restricting effects than pads or tampons. You can also swim.

Can you feel it when it’s in??

Not if it sits right. If it’s uncomfortable that means it’s not inserted correctly.

Will it not smell?

No. In fact there should be no smell at all. Menstrual blood develops an oder once it comes in contact with air. Because menstrual cups create a seal it will not be exposed to air, meaning no smell.

How do I clean it?

Some brands come with a container to sterilise the cups in. Otherwise just pop it in an old jam jar with water and microwave for 5 minutes. Keep it in the jar when you’re not using it.

 

Top Tips For Using Menstrual Cups

  • Try boiling the cup in hot water to soften it up before inserting
  • You can also leave the cup wet or use some water-based lubricant for some extra help when inserting.
  • Like all of us at some point, you might still be getting to know your anatomy so some practice using the cup might be needed. When you use it for the first time, give yourself plenty of time to try it out in a place you feel comfortable.

 

What are your thoughts on Menstrual Cups? Let us know in the comments or if you have any questions.

0 In Careers/ Lifestyle

Tips To Land Your First Summer Job

Tips To Land Your First Summer Job

There comes a time when you realise summer can be spent earning yourself some dollah dollah bills (well, Euro, but you get what we mean…) Finding your first summer job can be a daunting task. It often feels like people are looking for you to have a lot of experience in the job, but you need the job to get said experience. A vicious cycle if there ever was one! But never fear, we’re here to help you land that first summer job with these tips and tricks!

 

1. Put Together a CV

First things first, you need a CV. This should include your personal details, your education history, and any relevant experience or qualifications you may have. If you did TY, you should defo pop down whatever job you undertook as part of your work experience. Any sports, activities, and computer skills should also be listed. If you’ve volunteered doing any charity projects pop that down too, it always looks great on a CV.

It’s important to include a brief “About Me” section on your CV, it not only gives the hiring manager a sense of your personality, but if you don’t have much experience it bulks things out a bit. Keep things short and sweet when composing your CV, 2 A4 pages is the recommended amount. You’re one step closer to landing that summer job!

Canva offer a great CV builder, with loads of different designs you can personalise to suit your tastes. This is a great way to get creative, and convey your personality to an employer! And did we mention that its free?

2.   The Search

Searching for your first summer job can seem a very long and dull task. Websites and Apps like indeed make searching a whole lot easier. With most of these sites you can tailor your search to suit your needs by entering a title and location. It’s possible to sort jobs by the relevance or date posted, or distance from your location. It’s also possible to create job alerts. You’ll receive an email informing you of any relevant summer jobs that have been posted.

3.  It’s Not What You Know, But Who You Know (Sometimes)

Often, landing you first summer job is through some kind of connection. Your aunty’s best friend has a nephew looking for wait staff, you get the gist. Put some feelers out amongst family and friends saying you’re looking for a summer job and you could find that you’ll be inundated with potential jobs.

4. The Interview

Possibly the most exciting thing about summer job hunting, the email (or phone call) arriving asking if you’re available to interview! You say yes, arrange a time and date, hang up and… panic! “What do I say?” “What do I wear?!” Take a deep breath, calm yourself, Missy is here to help.

You want to ensure you exude confidence. Interviews can be daunting, but when you think about it, it’s basically a discussion about yourself, and what do you know better than you? Walk into the room with a friendly smile, a polite greeting and an extended hand (the handshake is always very important, seems a pretty strange outdated thing but just roll with it…).

Don’t forget to read our tips on building confidence!

Make sure you’ve done some research into the role and the company. Even your local café has some history to it so ask around and see if you can suss out when it was established, who owns it, get to know the menu a little bit. All this info will impress the interviewer and show you’re a fast learner with a keen interest.

If they ask about experience and you don’t have any pertaining exactly to the role play up any skills you have. For example, if you play sports you’re a great team player. If you’ve volunteered highlight any project or leadership skills you may have acquired. It might seem irrelevant in your head but you’d be surprised the lessons you’ve picked up along you life so far and how they can come in handy, helping you adapt to the work environment!

5. You did it!

Congratulations on your new job! It can be a bit of a shock to the system adapting to working life, but rest assured you’ll get the hang of it no time. Go in with an open mind and a can do attitude and you’ll fly it! You’re also now a taxpayer.. (not so yay…)! This can seem overwhelming at first, but Revenue have a great source of information on their site about registering your first job and how you’ll be taxed etc.

Good luck on your adventure to being a #GirlBoss!